Students from Lafayette Middle School composed competition essays to participate in the National Law Day 2005. This year's Law Day theme - THE AMERICAN JURY: WE THE PEOPLE IN ACTION celebrates our jury system. Did you know? The jury system came to the English colonies with the first settler. Even though the settlers' lives were controlled by the wealthy land owners who also controlled the legislature and the local church, the juries were made up of common people. Over time, and through many changes in the new world, the jury system remained. The country's founding fathers later determined that the role of the jury was very important to the democratic society. When the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1791, specific provisions were added to ensure the jury process. The Sixth Amendment and Seventh Amendment continue today to guarantee the right to a trial by an impartial jury in both criminal and civil cases.

The Lafayette students expanded on this history and gave their reasoned opinions as to why the jury system remains important today. The four student winners are Tony Fluriach, Raven Robinson and Alma I. Huerta of the eighth grade class, and Mary-Thomas Hart of the sixth grade class. Tony Fluriach and Mary-Thomas Hart will advance to the circuit-wide contest where they will compete with students from Suwannee, Columbia, Dixie, Taylor, Madison and Hamilton counties. The circuit-wide award ceremony will be held at the end of April in Mayo.

Congratulations to all Lafayette winners!

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